Is chronic pain slowing you down? Don't let it! Here are 15 ways that you can manage pain effectively and live an active life!
I almost dropped my baby.
It was such a simple thing, but it has impacted my life just about every day since.
I was getting out of our SUV shortly after Skye was born. My joints were still full of relaxin, and somehow I slipped while trying to get her and her car seat out of the center of the car. Like any mother, my first response was to protect the baby.
Luckily I did.
But not without ripping my ACL and MCL.
I was on the couch for months.
Eventually it healed, but still, the pain returns quite frequently.
Usually when I've promised the kids a full day out doing something active.
My kids need a Mom that can keep up with them, which means I have to get creative from time to time.
Spending the rest of my life on the couch isn't an option.
So how does one stay active in the face of pain?
Here are my top 15 Powerful Secrets to Manage Pain and Live a Healthy Lifestyle.
My #1 secret weapon to overcoming chronic pain is Turmeric. I pick it up at my local health food store.
This supplement has allowed me to continue exercising and staying active with the kids. I feel like taking it gives me that little extra ammunition to not hold back when I'm active.
2. Roll Away Pain
A Soft Body Roller is a great way to improve blood flow and improve muscular and going function. Just remember to be gentle - many people press too hard which can do more harm than good.
3. Listen to Music
This sounds crazy, but I tried it after reading about it and found it very helpful. A study in the journal PLoS One showed the listening to music you love can help to sooth pain. Participants who were subjected to pain reported less pain when listening to music they loved versus other sounds or silence. This is a great solution when you find yourself a mile from home with no option but to get back.
4. Food Fantasies
I think that a lot of managing pain is mental. I am not suggesting you work-out to the point of injury by any stretch, but when dealing with pain sometimes getting your mind off of it with visualization can help. I 2008 study found that food visualization worked better to manage pain than any other imagery. This method is also a good one when you find yourself facing pain when sitting down isn't an option. (Bonus points if you've got your Curamin® with you to take!)
5. Try Pilates
Whether you are sidelined with an injury or just spending hours sitting at your desk, back pain is something most of us deal with from time to time. When my knee was severely injured, I developed chronic back pain to go along with it. In the past, I was tempted to skip workouts altogether when I was in pain, but this may not be the best course of action. Italian researchers have found that three weekly sessions of Pilates can ease back discomfort.
6. Keep Moving
Even if Pilates isn’t for you, one of the most important things you can do is to keep moving. (Remember, we are talking about ongoing pain, not injury! Always listen to your doctor when it comes to injury.) Sitting on the couch for weeks on end can weaken your muscles and leave you stiff. Try gentle stretches and walking to help manage pain.
7. Eat Omega-3s
Foods rich in omega-3s like fish, walnuts, and flaxseed can help with pain by reducing inflammation.
8. Try Ginger
Ginger can help reduce pain if eaten or applied topically. According to Tessa Therkleson, a researcher at Edith Cowan University in Australia, “Topical ginger seems to warm and relax the musculoskeletal system, enabling increased mobility.” Try a warm ginger compress for 30 minutes daily.
9. Avoid Nightshades
It is believed that certain foods such as eggplant, tomatoes, peppers and potatoes can lead to inflammation in those that are sensitive to them. Since inflammation leads to pain, it is worth removing these from your diet and seeing if this helps.
10. Ice Up
When you re-injure an area, the first course of action is ice. It can help to reduce swelling and help manage pain. Try icing for 20 minutes three times a day.
11. Then Heat
After you have been icing for 48 hours, try adding heat to the mix. I like to alternate five minutes of heat with two minutes of cold, ending with cold.
12. Pain-Relief Lotion Bar
I adore this DIY Pain-Relief Lotion Bar. Studies at Cardiff University has shown that Frankincense oil inhibits the creation of cartilage-eroding molecules that cause joint pain. Lavender, Cedarwood, and Myrrh all support a healthy inflammatory response.
13. Try Yoga
Depending on the type of pain you suffer from, yoga can be a great addition to your routine. According to a 2011 study in Archives of Internal Medicine, people who took a 75-minute yoga class once a week for 12 weeks found they had less lower-back pain symptoms and less of a need for pain medication than those who didn't.
It sounds crazy, but it is believed that mediation of any type can lower inflammation.
15. Drink Green Tea
Green Tea may reduce pain and stiffness by helping to reduce inflammation.